Posted on April 6, 2017
10 Simple Steps to a Smaller Carbon Footprint
By now, everyone outside the Trump administration and right-wing circles knows carbon pollution is a catastrophic problem for our planet. Climate change is heating the planet, extinguishing species and threatening our food supply.
To stop runaway climate change, we will ultimately need politicians to enact policies requiring that fossil fuels be left in the ground. While we fight for those policies, there are also actions we can take as individuals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Here are 10 easy things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint and help fight climate change.
1. Change your lightbulbs. A couple years ago, we were replacing our incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lightbulbs. Now we’re replacing our CFLs with LEDs, which use 40 percent less energy than CFLs, provide better-quality light and last for decades when used a few hours a day. You can reduce your carbon footprint by six tons per year just by installing LEDs in your home.1
2. Hang up a clothesline. Drying one load of laundry in a machine puts 0.1 metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, so line-drying your clothes makes a real difference.2 More benefits: Your clothes will last longer because they won’t get roughed up in the dryer, and your T-shirts won’t shrink.
3. Buy an Energy Star fridge. Refrigerators 15 years or older use twice as much energy as a new Energy Star fridge. Replace your old refrigerator with an Energy Star model, and you can save as much as $260 over the next five years and reduce your carbon footprint by 8,200 pounds.3
4. Adjust your thermostat. Move your thermostat up 2 degrees in the summer and down 2 degrees in the winter. You’ll reduce your carbon emissions by 2,000 pounds a year.4
5. Tune up your water heater. There are two ways you can make your water heater more efficient. One, wrap it in an insulating blanket. It costs only about $25 at your local home center, and it will cut your carbon emissions by up to 1,000 pounds annually.5 Two, turn down the thermostat from 140 degrees (the standard factory setting) to 120 degrees. Each 10-degree reduction reduces your carbon emissions by 600 pounds (electric) or 440 pounds (gas) a year.6
6. Inflate your tires. Keeping your tires properly inflated can cut your carbon emissions by up to 700 pounds a year.7
7. Eat less meat. Vegetarians produce 3,000 fewer pounds of carbon per year than meat eaters.8 If a no-meat diet is asking too much, try to eat less meat, or choose poultry, which is less greenhouse-gas intensive than beef.9
8. Leave your car at home. A typical passenger vehicle emits around 4.7 metric tons of CO2 each year.10 So leaving your car at home to bike, carpool or ride public transit to work can make a big difference. By doing this once a week,you’ll cut your carbon emissions by up to one metric ton per year.
9. Take Action. Attend the People’s Climate Marches in Washington and cities across the United States on April 29, and take urgent action to stop the Keystone XL pipeline by sending a comment to the Nebraska Public Utilities Commission urging it to reject TransCanada’s permit application.
10. Tell your friends about CREDO Mobile. Spread the word about CREDO Mobile and all the important work we do to fight for climate justice. Here are just a few examples:
- We wage aggressive advocacy campaigns to keep fossil fuels in the ground and take on Big Oil, fracking and coal companies directly.
- We fund nonprofit organizations like 350.org and Rainforest Action Network.
- We’ve planted 4 million trees worldwide through donations to tree planting organizations.
- We offset the shipping and lifetime electricity use of our phones through Carbonfund.org’s CarbonFree program, and we make it free and easy for our members to recycle their phones with Eco-Cell.
- We encourage our members to use paperless billing. For those that need a physical copy of their bill, we print our bills on 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper and, for every ton of paper we use, we plant 100 trees – enough to make another ton.
We do all this – and we can do much more when your friends join CREDO Mobile.